Aritcle by Samantha Edwards, Now Toronto
When cannabis is legalized across Canada, Toronto condo dwellers eager to light up inside their homes may see that dream go up in smoke.
In Toronto, some condo boards are planning to ban smoking weed inside both individual units and on balconies despite personal residences being one of the few places where smoking will be allowed under the current proposed legislation.
At Emerald City One, a condo near Sheppard and Don Mills, the future is not so green. The board wants to prohibit smoking because it already gets so many complaints about marijuana odours wafting between units. Residents say the smell triggers asthma and allergies, and they’re concerned it’ll only get worse once cannabis is legalized.
“People can still do edibles and vape,” says Andreea Birloncea, the board president. “We’re not against marijuana use, we’re simply saying there are so many other options to get the effects of marijuana without inconveniencing your neighbour.”
The board is drafting up a rule that would ban smoking cannabis in individual units as well as on balconies, which is considered an “exclusive-use common element,” meaning that similar to a lobby or rooftop terrace, it’s a portion of the building that belongs to all owners.
But can condo boards actually ban a soon-to-be legal substance?
According to Deborah Howden, a lawyer specializing in condominium real estate, it is possible. Under Section 58 of the Condominium Act, condo corporations can create new rules that “promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners, and prevent unreasonable interference,” says Howden.
She explains the pungent smell of second-hand smoke could be considered a nuisance and therefore a new rule restricting smoking cannabis would be reasonable. Medical marijuana users would be exempt under the Ontario Human Rights Code.